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Writing what you see around you

Stuart Lee's childhood on his family's commercial orchard near Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, generated the setting for The Silo. "I lived out in the country and used to catch a rural bus like that to school," he says.

His story was one of 800 entries for the international Children's Writers'

and Artists' Yearbook Short Story Competition 2006. Writers were asked for a 2,000-word story for nine to 12-year-olds on the theme of secrets. The Silo was chosen from a shortlist of 10 by TES books editor Geraldine Brennan. Stuart receives pound;500 from publisher AC Black, which set up the competition. "On the day I found out I'd won, my new computer arrived, which cost pound;500 in New Zealand dollars," says 41-year-old Stuart, who's been writing for six years and attending a writers' group in Auckland.

The parallel short story competition for adults is open until April 30 (see www.acblack.comshortstory).

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